Sri Ramanuja – History & Life Sketch

Srivaishnavam  Parambaryam, Traditions &  The Culture that stands Class apart from others
Essence of Srivaishnavam Practices

Aum, Sweet Om, The PraNava Mantra of Universe

Jagat Guru Sri RamanujAcharya

by R Gopalakrishnan (Retd. AGM, BSNL, Trivandrum now settled in Chennai)

1. The Introduction

Ramanucharya was the chief exponent of the Vishishtadvaita school of Vedanta and a great social reformer. {We will talk of Visishtaadvaita in simple language}  “If I can bring deliverance to so many, I do not mind being condemned to hell,” he said, and spread his spiritual message to even the lowest of classes of people. He established the Yatiraja Math and the Cheluva narayana swami temple at Melkote in Karnataka, and also renovated many ancient temples. He wrote many philosophical works and preached the oneness of mankind.

2. Srivaishnava Sect

The worshippers of Vishnu are ‘Sri Srivaishnavas’. They devoutly worship Sri Rama and Sri Krishna, the incarnations of Vishnu. ‘Sri’ is  Goddess Lakshmi. The devotees worship Mother Lakshmi and through her they try to propitiate Lord Vishnu. These devotees are the Srivaishnavas and they follow the tenets of Vishishtadvaita.

It was the Alwars, (Azhwars) the Srivaishnava devotees of Tamilnadu, who widely popularized the Srivaishnava  Sect  They lived between the sixth and the ninth centuries of the Christian era. They were twelve in number. They did not have any caste distinctions. These Srivaishnava devotees were drawn from all castes of the Hindu religion.

3. Acharya after Alwars

The tradition of the Acharyas began after the Alwars. ‘Acharya’ means a teacher. Among them YamunAcharya was foremost. The next in succession was RamanujAcharya. He gave a comprehensive form to the tenets of Vishishtadvaita. He propounded a philosophy, which could command a universal following

4. Ramanuja -parents

We had talked of YamunAcharya as first Acharya.  Srishailapurna was his disciple. His elder sister was Bhudevi. She was married to KeshavAcharya. Bhudevi and KeshavAcharya lived near a temple at Sri Perambudur, about thirty miles away from Chennai. Ramanuja was born to them as their only son, in A.D. 1017.

5. Govinda- Brother of Ramanucharya

Sridevi was Shailapurana’s younger sister. She was the wife of Kusumanayana Bhatta. A boy called Govinda was born of this couple exactly at the same time as Ramanuja was born. These two continued to live in amity till the end of their life, and had great mutual affection. In simple words Ramanucharya and Govinda were first cousins.

6. Ramanuja- why he was called so?

Ramanuja was a bright child. Since he resembled Sri Rama’s brother (‘anuja’) Lakshmana, he was called Ramanuja. {It never came to my mind so far and I had no occasion to think of the origin}

7. Education and Upanayanm

The boy Ramanuja was very smart. If he read or listened to his lessons even once, he could always remember them. He learnt the Vedas and the Vedangas even as a child.

8. Marriage and settlement

He had his sacred thread ceremony at the right time. When Ramanuja was about sixteen years old he married Rakshambal. She was also known as Tanjamma. Unfortunately his father KeshavAcharya had his end a little after the marriage. After this RamanujAcharya came to Kanchipuram and settled with his wife and widowed mother. Govinda his brother followed them to Kanchipuram.

9. Extraordinary Disciple

Ramanuja had not yet received all his lessons in Vedanta. He was on the lookout for the right’ Guru’. Yadavapraksha was one of the greatest scholars of those days. Ramanuja became his student.

Ramanuja did not relish the manner in which the teacher taught him. In Ramanuja’s judgment, Yadavaprakasha was not explaining the texts properly.

9.1. Conflict with Guru Yadavaprakasha

One day the teacher was explaining some intricate sentence in the Chandogya Upanishad. The meaning the teacher explained was rather crude. Ramanuja gave his own interpretation of the line. The teacher became nervous feeling that some day his student might make a march over him. On another day immediately after the incident, they were discussing a line in Taittiriya Upanishad. The teacher gave a faulty explanation. Ramanuja explained the line in his own way. The brilliant exposition made Yadavapraksha the teacher very angry. He said :-

“Look here. If you are not satisfied with my way of teaching, you don’t have to take any more lessons from me ” The teacher spoke with obvious displeasure. Ramanuja went away without uttering a word. He was full of respect for his teacher. { Dear members if you can recollect incidents in the Gurukula life of sage Yanjavalkya and his Guru Vaisampayana you can find such a similarity)

10. Plot to kill Ramanuja

Some  fellow students also hated Ramanuja and wanted to get rid of him. Once the teacher and the students including Govinda and Ramanuja were all going on a pilgrimage to Varanasi. They approached the Vindhya Mountains. They were traveling through an impenetrable jungle when Yadava Prakasha and some  disciples hatched a plot to kill Ramanuja

11. Govinda feels something rotten

 Govinda somehow sensed it; he warned his brother and advised him to run for his life. Accordingly Ramanuja went away. The teacher and the other students frantically searched for him in the forest. They presumed that some wild animal had killed him and they proceeded on their way to Varanasi.

12. Ramanuja reaches back   Kanchipuram over night- a miracle

Ramanuja wandered wildly in the forest. He was tormented by hunger and thirst. There was also the fear of the wild animals. He prayed to God and slept under a tree. He was not feeling hunger and thirst any longer. However it was not easy to find his way out from the wild forest.

Just then a man and a woman appeared on the scene. They were a hunter-couple. They felt sad when they heard the boy’s tale of woe. They were heading towards south and  Ramanuja followed them back in the south direction.

It was very dark when they emerged from the jungle. They found a place in the plain and rested for the night. Some time after midnight, the hunter’s wife said she was feeling thirsty. Ramanuja got up and went in search of water. He fetched water from a far-off pond. The hunter’s wife, after drinking it, again asked for some more. When Ramanuja went back to the pond for more water, it was about daybreak. Ramanuja surprised to find himself in the midst of familiar surroundings – temple towers, coconut trees and woods. He had unconsciously come back to Kanchipuram!

13. Narayana and Lakshmi – the hunter couple

He wondered how he had managed to come all the way here from the Vindhyas, and that in a single night. It must be the will of -the Almighty, he thought. He then guessed that the hunter-couple who had accompanied him were none other than Lord Narayana and his consort Lakshmi.

He rushed back to the, place where the hunter-couple had stayed. They were no longer there. Ramanuja was profoundly grateful to God. From that day onwards he made it a custom to carry water from the pond for the worship of God Varadaraja. Ramanuja took upon himself the responsibility of carrying the holy water every day.

14. Back To the Old Guru

Yadavaprakasha and his disciples returned to Kanchi from Varanasi after the pilgrimage. They feared that their evil designs had come to light. They were dismayed to find that Ramanuja had come back safely. But Ramanuja remained unperturbed and explained the divine intercession, which had enabled him to return to Kanchi in one night. The Guru desired Ramanuja to come back to him for continuing his lessons. Ramanuja’s studentship was thus resumed.

Next posting- What happened after renewal of student ship for interested readers.

15. Once sparked is sparked

We read Ramanuja again joined as disciple with his Guru Yadava prakasha. But his Guru continued to nurse his ill feeling towards Ramanuja. One day the teacher was explaining the line -Sarvam khalvidam brahma from Upanishath. The explanation did not appeal to Ramanuja. He gave his own explanation. The teacher grew angry and told him unequivocally that he would not teach him any longer. Ramanuja ended his student ship with Yadavaprakash. He started spending all his time in the service of Lord Varadaraja.

16. YamunAcharya calls for Ramanuja

YamunAcharya was the leader of the Vishishtadvaita School. Though he had authored many learned works in Sanskrit on that school of philosophy, many tenets of the philosophy were yet to be explained. YamunAcharya was becoming very old. He was wondering who would continue the great tradition. He was then living in Sriranga. He had devoted himself to the worship of Lord Ranganatha. He thought that Ramanuja was the right man for the task of guiding the Vishishtadvaita School. He prayed to God Varadaraja Swami that Ramanuja would be the successor. That day was not tar off.

YamunAcharya came to know that Ramanuja had been estranged from Yadavaprakasha. His understood his own end was drawing near. He told his student Maha poorna to fetch Ramanuja from Kanchi.

17. YamunAcharya leaves for heaven

Mahapoorna reached Kanchi and explained to Ramanuja the condition of YamunAcharya. Ramanuja longed to see the great man. They came to Sriranga. They saw a crowd on the banks of the river Cauvery. Yamuna had died even before Ramanuja arrived.

People had assembled there for the funeral rites of the great YamunAcharya. Ramanuja was shocked. But he felt comforted that he was fortunate to see at least the dead body of the great man.

18. Bend fingers come upright

A miracle happened then. Ramanuja stood before the corpse and gazed at it. He observed that the three fingers of the right hand had been bent. The disciples of the YamunAcharya told Ramanuja that he had left unfinished three important tasks in his life. Ramanuja took an oath that he would accomplish them. He vowed that he would propagate the Srivaishnava philosophy, that he would pay his tribute to Vyasa, Parashara and Nammalwar, and that he would write a commentary on Vyasa’s Brahma Sutras.

Even as he declared his vows, the three fingers of YamunAcharya got straightened one by one. It was clear that Sri Yamuna had blessed Ramanuja. It was also clear that Ramanuja would be the future torchbearer of the Srivaishnava tradition. However Ramanuja returned for Kanchi after the funerals.

19. Ramanuja accept Kanchi Poorna as Guru

Ramanuja did not believe in the caste system. He disliked superstitions. The sage Kanchi poorna was a devotee of Lord Varadaraja. He was not a Brahmin. But Ramanuja accepted him as his Guru and he used to prostrate before him. His wife did not relish much of Ramanuja respecting Kanchipoorna by prostrating.

20. Rakshamba again bath and prepare new food after serving Kanchi poorna

It happened that once Ramanuja invited sage Kanchipoorna to a dinner at his house. He wanted to feed him and receive his blessings. The sage accepted the invitation and dinner was arranged. The sage knew that Ramanuja’s wife Rakshamba was a very orthodox woman. So, he went to their house earlier when Ramanuja had started to fetch him.

Rakshamba received Kanchi poorna and he dined at Ramanuja’s house and returned.  But Ramanuja’s wife gave away the remaining food to some others; she cleaned the house, bathed and cooked fresh food for the family.

Ramanuja came back and realized what had happened. He was angry at the actions of Rakshamba. He felt it as a blessing to take the food after serving Kanchi poorna. She was incapable of understanding the noble feelings of Ramanuja.

21. Rakshamba tells lie

Some time after this on an occasion a group of hungry people came to his doors. Ramanuja asked his wife Rakshamba to see if she could find some food in the house for them. She replied that there was no food to offer. Ramanuja became furious when he later came to know that she had told a lie.

22. Kanchi poorna get answers after prayer to God Varadaraja

Whenever Ramanuja desired solutions to any philosophical questions, he would refer them to Kanchi poorna. The latter when find it difficult to answer the questions used to stand before the deity and appealing for answers. He conveyed back to Ramanuja the response he received from God. Ramanuja was most happy with the answers. These became the basic tenets of Vishishtadvaita.

23. Ramanuja become disciple of Mahapoorna

Ramanuja came to know of Mahapoorna, the Guru at Srirangam. He desired to go for Sriranga to meet him. At the same time Mahapoorna and his wife were on the way to Kanchi to persuade Ramanuja to take up the task left uncompleted by YamunAcharya. They both met on the way. Mahapoorna agreed to Ramanuja’s Guru. Ramanuja was taken to a place near a bakula tree, and after the preliminary rituals he was taught the philosophical intricacies of Vishishtadvaita. Ramanuja took his Guru to Kanchi. For nearly six months Ramanuja served his master and learnt from him the inner esoteric meaning of the ‘Nalayira’ (four thousand) Prabandha compositions. He learnt the essence of Vishishtadvaita contained in those hymns. Mahapoorna too was not a Brahmin like Kanchipoorna

24.Rakshambal getting angry with Mahapoorna’s wife

 One day Maha poorna’s wife was drawing water from the well, and inadvertently a few drops were splashed on the pitcher of Ramanuja’s wife. She became angry that she had been polluted by Maha poorna’s wife and started a row. Maha- poorna felt deeply hurt by her conduct. He decided to leave the place lest his presence create further estrangement between Ramanuja and his wife, and proceeded to Sriranga.

25. Ramanuja dispatch wife to father in Law

Ramanuja came to know that his Guru had left. His anger knew no bounds. He decided that he couldn’t continue to live with such a wife. He cleverly dispatched her to her father’s house and took to Sanyasa in the presence of Lord Varadaraja. His worldly bonds had been severed forever.

26. Ramanuja assumes sanyasa and come to Sriranga

The news of Ramanuja’s becoming a sanyasi spread everywhere. Many were attracted by his brilliant personality and became his disciples. Among them were Ramanuja’s nephew Dasarathi and Kooresha. His old Guru Yadavaprakasha too joined him a 3rd time now. Kooresha was able to find answers to many of the philosophical questions which were vexing Yadava- prakasha. He was thus converted into Srivaishnava faith and then onwards assumed the name ‘Govinda Jeer’.

Although Ramanuja had no dearth of disciples, he felt the need of his brother Govinda. The disciples of YamunAcharya at Sriranga continued to think of Ramanuja. They sent their chief Vararanga in order to fetch Ramanuja to Sriranga. They propitiated the God at Sriranga and succeeded in taking Ramanuja to Sriranga.

Though Ramanuja preached his philosophy daily he felt that his knowledge was still incomplete. Therefore he once again approached Maha poorna and learnt quite a few things from him. But ‘ Mahapoorna said: “There is a man called Goshti poorna in Goshtipura, he is the only man who can further teach you the significance of Srivaishnava tenets.”

27. Student ship with Goshti poorna

Goshtipoora did not easily accord his benediction to Ramanuja. He was bent on testing the latter’s fitness and devotion.

He often evaded Ramanuja saying he was busy and refused to meet him. At last he was convinced that Ramanuja was a deserving student. He told Ramanuja to approach him with his walking stick and Kamandalu. Ramanuja came accompanied by Dasarathi and Kooresha. “I told you to come alone. Why did you bring these two with you?” the Guru asked. Ramanuja said: “Dasarathi is my walking stick and Kooresha is the Kamandalu. I just cannot survive without them.” Goshtipoorna was deeply touched by Ramanuja’s affection for his disciples. He taught Ramanuja the significance of the ‘ashtakshari’ hymn: “Since those who recite it will find god realization, you should be discriminating while teaching it,” he said.

But Ramanuja did not like such invidious distinctions between man and man. He wanted that every one should profit by such divine knowledge.

28. Ramanuja disagree with Goshti poorna

Next day he climbed the temple tower and summoned all the residents of the town. He spread broadcast to them all the mystical knowledge he had learnt. He made them repeat the hymn and then explained the meaning. People were elated with joy.

Goshti poorna was wrathful when he heard all this. He asked Ramanuja if ever he knew what punishment would befall him for the crime he had committed. Ramanuja spoke calmly: I know I may have to go to hell for having defied my Guru. My action has brought happiness and deliverance to so many, and hence it does not matter even if I am condemned to everlasting perdition.”

The words brought wisdom to Goshti-poorna. He realized that Ramanuja was a great man who had taken his birth only for the deliverance of the world. He called him “My Lord” and embraced him.

29. Ramanuja goes to Maladhara and Vararanga

The teachings of YamunAcharya had been distributed among his five disciples, namely Kanchipoorna, Maha poorna, Goshti poorna, Maladhara, and Vararanga. Ramanuja had received instruction at the hands of three of them. He was yet to meet Maladhara and Vararanga. He went to Maladhara to learn the hymns of Nammalwar.

Maladhara was also known as Tirumalai Andan. Ramanuja sat at his feet to learn. The Guru explained Nammalwar’s ‘Tiruvaimoli’ in the light of the interpretation he had heard from the lips of Yamuna- charya. But Ramanuja tried to read even richer meaning into those songs. Maladhara got displeased. But Goshti pooma came to know of it, and tried to mollify the feelings of Maladhara. He assured him that Ramanuja was a great genius that had received the grace of his Guru Yamuna- charya, and therefore the teacher should continue his lessons unmindful of the incidental irritation. Later Ramanuja received lessons for Vararanga on the Nalayira hymns.

30. Ramanuja codify YamunAcharya tenets

The philosophical tenets of YamunAcharya, which had remained fragmented, were gathered together from various sources and codified by Ramanuja. Ramanuja thus became Paripooma (‘complete’) and his probation was over. He was in a position to disseminate the essentials of Srivaishnava religion among his contemporaries. He wrote the three classics called Gadya- traya, Nitya-grantha and Gita-bhashya. He exercised all his faculties in obtaining divine grace and sharing the fruits of his experience with his fellowmen.

31. Priests of Sri rangam dislike Ramanjua

After Ramanuja came to Srirangam, the stranglehold of the priests was released. But they felt frustrated and made out a plan to poison Ramanuja.

One day when Ramanuja was on his usual rounds to collect the day’s alms, he was standing before the doorsteps of a house. The lady of the house came out to offer him alms. As soon as she saw the unusually brilliant eyes and graceful saintly face of the sanyasi, she began to shiver with fright. When Ramanuja asked her the reason for her strange conduct, she could not help confessing the truth before the great man. She had been instigated by her husband and his friends to poison the food that was to be offered to the sanyasi. Ramanuja threw the food into the river. When the disciples of Ramanuja came to know what had happened, they decided to cook the food themselves thereafter. 

32. Ramanuja defeat Yanja moorthy

There lived a famous scholar called Yajnamurthy. He had defeated many opponents in philosophical disputes. He was a very insolent man, too. He challenged Ramanuja. The arguments between them went on for eighteen days. It was a meeting of two equals. On the nineteenth day Ramanuja presented a line of argument based on YamunAcharya’s works. The proud controversialist was humbled, and later he became a favorite disciple of Ramanuja. He became known as Devaraja-muni.

33. Ramanuja undertake pilgrimage

On account of this Ramanuja’s reputation extended far and wide. He desired to visit holy places. He visited the places along with disciples, where once the ‘Alwars’ lived and he came to a village called Ashtasahasragrama. There he had two disciples-Yajnesha, a rich man, and Varadarya, a poor man. Ramanuja and his disciples visited the house of Varadarya for collecting alms for the day. The lady of the house cordially welcomed them. But there was little that the poor woman could offer to the guests. But Ramanuja admired her devotion.

Yajnesha the other disciple was rich but somewhat insolent. He waited in vain for welcoming Ramanuja the whole day. He realized his folly and went to Ramanuja and fell at his feet and apologized. Ramanuja exhorted him to treat all living creatures with equal humanity.

34. Ramanuja visit Kashmir by foot to write commentaries on Brahma sutra

Ramanuja remembered he had not fulfilled one of the promises he had made to his departed Guru Yamuna. He was yet to write a commentary on the Brahma Sutras of Vyasa. He needed to consult the learned commentary written by Bodhayana. But that great work was in Kashmir. Ramanuja and his disciple Kooresha went on foot all the way to Kashmir.

The King and his court-scholars were astounded by Ramanuja’s profound knowledge. Ramanuja requested them to give him the work of Bodhayana. But the scholars refused. They did not even permit him to make a copy of the text. “At least, please let me glance through the work once,” he requested to them. It was a very difficult text, and the scholars thought that there would be no harm if they allowed Ramanuja to merely thumb through the pages of the book.

Kooresha read it aloud from cover to cover, and Ramanuja listened in silence. Kooresha had a prodigious memory and he was able to make a copy of the whole book by a mere cursory glance at it.

35. Prearation of Sribhashya

Ramanuja and Kooresha returned to Srirangam. And then began the composition of Sribhashya, the commentary on Brahma Sutras. The Guru dictated and the disciple wrote it down. At one point Kooresha grew a little uncertain about the meaning of a passage, and he paused. Seeing that Ramanuja became angry; he abruptly got up and went out.

36. Ramanuja apologize to Kooresha

Ramanuja soon realized his mistake and apologized to his student Kooresha who took all efforts of learning the Bhashya by Bodhayana by just seeing it. Ramanuja  had clearly made a mistake and if Kooresha  had mechanically continued the writing, a serious mistake would have crept into the commentary.

Thus the Sribhashya was concluded and Ramanuja came to be called ‘Sribhashyakara.’

37 Ramanuja undertake 2nd pilgrimage

The students of Ramanuja wanted teacher’s mission should also include visits to pilgrim centers. Ramanuja agreed and they went on foot all the way. They toured the Chola and Pandya kingdoms and went to North India. They visited distant holy places like Dwaraka and Badari and reached Kashmir.

38. Sharada Devi bless Ramanuja

At Kashmir the Goddess of learning Sri Sharada appeared before Ramanuja and blessed him by presenting an icon of Hayagreeva. Later he visited Varanasi which was interrupted in the first tour. At Puri he established the Embar Math. He reorganized the temple service at Jagannath. He toured all over India and returned to Sriranga.

39. Ramanuja leave Srirangam and reach Karnataka

Karikala who constructed the Granite dam called Kallanai was the ruler of the Chola kingdom. He was a worshipper of Shiva, and he was a fanatic. He wanted to force Ramanuja to accept his Saivisam. He issued a proclamation saying ‘There is no god greater than Shiva’ and someone suggested that the king should get Ramanuja to subscribe to that view. He sent for him. When the king’s emissaries arrived at Sriranga, Ramanuja was taking his bath. Sensing the imminent danger to the master, Kooresha disguised himself as Ramanuja. Ramanuja came to know of what had transpired from Dasarathi another disciple and was thus able to escape. He decided to leave Sriranga. He crossed the Cauvery River and arrived in Karnataka.

On arriving in Karnataka Ramanuja reached Saligrama. Vaduhanambi, the priest of the local Narasimha temple, became Ramanuja’s disciple. The pond Sripada theertha in that village is kept as a memorial to of Ramanuja’s visit where local people visited to greet him. All Srivaishnavas consider Sripada Tirtha as sacred. The temple is still in charge of the descendants of the family of Vaduhanambi.

40 Kooresha and Mahapoorna get punished

The disciples of Ramanuja had to bear the brunt of the King’s wrath. Kooresha and Mahapoorna were taken to a jungle and their eyes where gouged out. Maha poorna died in agony. Kooresha settled in a small remote village.

41.King Vittala deva raya become Vishnu Vardhana

Ramanuja traveled eastward and came to Tondanur, the second capital of the Hoysala Empire. Vittala Devaraya was Hoysala ruler. His daughter was suffering from some mental illness. The king sent for Ramanuja who also became a good physician by the time.  Ramanuja cured the illness of the princess, to the delight of the king. He was drawn to Ramanuja’s faith and became a Srivaishnava. He then onwards came to be known as Vishnu- vardhana.  {All the while I was thinking it was simply the name of king. Filmgoers of my age may recollect Karnataka film actor Vishnu vardhan and his actoress wife Bharathi of yesteryears}

42. Construction of Srivaishnava temples

 In memory of this great event, the king Vishnu vardhana built five Srivaishnava temples Channiganarayana temple at Belur, Nambinarayana temple at Tondanur, Kirtinarayana temple at Talakad, Veeranarayana temple at Gadag and Chaluvanarayana temple at Melkote. These temples are lasting monuments of Karnataka culture and architecture. Ramanuja built many other temples too in Tondanur. He also got constructed a huge reservoir called Tirumalasagara’ (now called Moti Talab).

43. Melkote temple

Ramanuja left Tondanur for Melkote, which was also known as Yadavagiri. It was a hilly area overgrown with thick jungle. The original idol of god Tirunarayana was lying hidden in a molehill. Ramanuja got it dug out and installed the idol in a specially built shrine.

43.1.  Ulsavamoorthy dances and come to Ramanuja

There is a beautiful legend about the Utsavamoorti of Melkote temple. Utsavamoorti is a small idol of the same deity used for taking out in procession.

Formerly the temple did not have the idol, which is meant for being taken out in procession. It was said that the idol was in the custody of a Muslim king. When Ramanuja went to see the Sultan, the Sultan was impressed by Ramanuja’s magnificent personality. He had no objection to parting with the idol if his daughter also agreed. It is said Ramanuja called aloud – “Come, my king Selvapillay’ and the idol came dancing to Ramanuja.

The Sultan’s daughter would not easily part with the idol, since she loved it dearly, and she followed it when it was taken out to Melkote. It is said that when she could not get back the idol, she put an end to her life at the feet of the deity.

The Harijans ware of great help to Ramanuja in building the shrines and in accomplishing other public utility works in Melkote. Ramanuja called them ‘Tirukulattar’ (‘high-born’). He arranged to have them admitted to the temple on three days in a year, when they could have free darshan of the deity.

44 Ramanuja’s return to Srirangam

Ramanuja lived in Karnataka for twenty years. He established the Yatiraja Math in Melkote, and also several other Maths and temples. He had succeeded in spreading the tenets of Srivaishnava religion in Melkote.

He wanted to return to Sriranga to complete his task there. He remembered his former disciples, Kooresha, Dhanurdasa and others. Much work remained to be done. The successors of the Chola king were tolerant towards other faiths. Time was thus propitious for returning and Ramanuja came to Sriranga, after bidding farewell to associates at Melkote. Ramanjua reached Srirangam. He was deeply moved to see the blinded old man Kooresha who passed away some time later.

Ramanuja renovated many old temples, which were in ruins. He was by now a ripe old man of 120 years. His eyes turned Heavenward since he had fulfilled all that he wanted to achieve. He decided to cast of his mortal frame. A life-size statue of his was made. Ramanuja breathed life into it before he passed away. The life like statue was installed in Sri Perambudur. So Ramanuja had poornayus.(120 years)

45. Ramanuja and Tirupathi

There was a contradiction whether the idol at Tirupathi is Shaivite or Vaishnavite. Ramanuja reached there at that time. Every body agreed Ramanuja solving the issue. He placed Sankhu and Chakram  (The divine Conch & Wheel of Sri Mahavishnu) in front of the deity after night pooja. Sanctum was closed in the presence of all.

Ramanuja made a sashtanga namaskaram in front of the deity in the outside and requested the deity to hold sankhu and Chakram if the deity is Vaishanavite.

When the temple door opened next day in morning deity was holding sankhu and chakram in his hands. The article in Bharatha desam do not include this incident of Ramanuja’s life. But I have read it elsewhere.

46 Final message of Ramanuja

Ramanuja delivered his final message to his disciples: “Shed your ego. Love the devotees of God. Serve the cause of mankind who is God’s children. Nobody is infallible; do not humiliate any one. What is of supreme importance is purity of mind and deed.” His message was spread all over the country by his seventy-four disciples and Maths was built in different parts. Ramanuja particularly laid stress on the merciful nature of God. God possesses numerous attributes like truth, grace and beauty. If we worship God devotedly, he will bless us. Those who love God are the real great men irrespective of their caste or religion. Ramanuja loved all mankind without making any distinction between man and man. He taught his disciples the virtues of humility and equality.

47. The end

The end was nearing. Ramanuja laid  down keeping his head on the lap of Govinda and his feet on Andhrapoorna’s lap. He attained eternal bliss in that posture, on the tenth day of the month of Magha, in the year 1059 of Shalivahana era (A. D. 1137).

TRS Iyengar

Born on Makara Uthiradam star, native of Mukkur and brought up in Ladavaram village near Arcot and now well settled in Mumbai for over five decades. Presently, at 70, trying to run this website without any commercial expectations or profit motive, just for the sake of our future generations to understand about Sanatana Dharma & Srivaishnavam sampradayam.Within my limited knowledge that I put it here, what I learnt from the world.

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